The term epic is derived from the Greek word "epikos," which originally meant a poem or narrative. The genre epic is defined by literary critics as a type of poem that derives from oral tradition and represents an important and often normative representation of the culture of a specific group. The term "epic," despite referring to a type of long narrative poem, also suggests a certain type of reception or cultural importance.
Beowulf is a traditional Anglo-Saxon epic. Although it was transmitted in writing, it derives from an oral tradition. It is a long narrative poem based on history and includes foundational stories about historical figures. Its form is a traditional one for epics of its culture, as it uses four stress alliterative meter.
As with most epics, it is a heroic story with breadth and grandeur, embodying the values of its society and holding up a hero as an exemplar of virtue for its audience. It reflects beliefs in the values of martial prowess, strong kinship bonds, honor,...
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